The do’s and don’ts of decorating with gray

The color gray is often considered to be drab and gloomy, but the reality is, gray is one of the most versatile colors in home decor. Why? It’s a foundation color that can easily be paired with other colors and can be used for foundation pieces such as sofas, beds and chairs. Use gray to help ground a space, as well as for accents.

Looking for ways to use gray in your home? Here are some Design Recipes do’s and don’ts.


Use light gray in spaces that don’t get much light. Light gray can help make a space feel light and bright.

Use gray for primary pieces in rooms such as sofas, chairs and beds.

Mix warm and cool grays. Warm grays are creamier, while cool grays are bluer.

Pair gray with strong contrast colors such as indigo, black or brown.

Use gray in unexpected areas such as dining rooms.


Be afraid to use dark shades such as charcoal gray. Smoky shades can be luxurious.

Be afraid to mix different shades in the same space.

Be afraid to use gray as accents. From artwork to pillows, gray can be a smoothing addition.

Use dark shades of gray in spaces that don’t get much light, as it will likely make the space feel overly dark.

Forget that finishes can be used as a way to add gray to a space. Chrome and nickel finishes are great ways to infuse the color into a room.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .